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Baseball: Longmont’s Pollock outduels Raptors’ Knechtel

LONGMONT — Even after being pressed on the issue, Longmont baseball coach Tom Fobes insisted he did not believe senior pitcher Dylan Pollock was working with his best stuff on Saturday.

That assertion could be terrible news for the rest of the Northern League, given just how dominant Pollock was against Silver Creek.

Pollock got the upper hand in a classic pitchers’ duel with the Raptors’ Wyatt Knechtel, striking out 15 Silver Creek batters as Longmont completed a sweep of its cross-town rival with a 2-1 victory. Sophomore Cameron Yee provided the offensive highlight with a one-out line drive in the bottom of the seventh inning that brought Will Amen home with the winning run.

“We’ve only had, really, three close games, so it’s good to be in these situations so you learn how to win without really hitting,” Fobes said. “Both pitchers were kind of effectively wild. I don’t think either had guy their best stuff. I know Dylan didn’t. He got better as the game went on, but he wasn’t locating very well. He was getting strikes, but he wasn’t hitting his spots. But they both put on a pretty good show.”

Pollock recorded multiple strikeouts in six of seven innings, allowing only six hits and three walks. Knechtel was perhaps a touch less flashy yet equally effective, surrendering six hits and four walks while recording seven strikeouts.

Both hurlers worked their way out of early trouble during sequences that could have made the difference in a game that remained scoreless going into the bottom of the sixth. In the top of the second, Silver Creek (4-6-1, 3-3 Northern League) had runners on second and third with no outs, but Pollock squashed the rally with three consecutive strikeouts. Knechtel faced even more dire danger in the bottom of the second as Longmont loaded the bases with no outs, but a weak tapper that resulted in a force out at home, followed by two Knechtel strikeouts, ended the threat.

Silver Creek enjoyed another prime opportunity in the fifth when a leadoff double by Garrett Howard, followed by a wild pitch, gave the Raptors a runner at third with no outs. However, No. 9 hitter Scott Platt whiffed on a suicide squeeze attempt, leaving pinch-runner Ryan Templeton hung out to dry between third and home.

“We had our opportunities, but we have to step up and get that hit,” Silver Creek coach Trevor Platt said. “I felt good with the personnel we had (on the squeeze) at all the positions, and I thought if we could get a run across right there, that might be the difference in the ball game and put a little more pressure on Longmont. It didn’t work out for us.”

The offenses finally began chipping away at the two pitchers in the final two innings, with Longmont (9-1, 6-0) striking first in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Andrew Bladt. Silver Creek stayed alive by breaking through against Pollock in the top of the seventh, as consecutive hits by Howard and Scott Platt led to the tying run by pinch-runner Levi Deckert on a Pollock wild pitch.

Knechtel hit Longmont’s Amen with the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh, and Amen moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Patrick Martien and a Silver Creek error. Yee ended the drama with a sharp line drive to right.

“My fastball was really lively and I was able to keep them off-balance,” Pollock said. “I trust my team behind me. I wasn’t stressing to much, because if they put it in play I knew my guys would get it, and I could do the rest.”

Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07

Longmont 2, Silver Creek 1

At Longmont H.S.

Silver Creek (4-6-1, 3-3) 000 000 1 — 1 6 1

Longmont (9-1, 6-0) 000 001 1 — 2 6 0

W — Pollock (3-0). L — Knechtel (2-2)

Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Apodaca 4-0-0-0, Wenande 4-0-0-0, Reynolds 2-0-1-0, Stauss 3-0-1-0, Knechtel 2-0-1-0, Fleming 3-0-0-0, Lord 3-0-0-0, Howard 3-0-2-0, Deckert 0-1-0-0, Platt 2-0-1-0. Totals 26-1-6-0. 2B — Knechtel, Howard. SB — Reynolds 2, Platt.

Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Yee 4-0-2-1, Magee 2-0-0-0, Crist 3-1-1-0, Mau 2-0-1-0, Bladt 2-0-1-1, Moroyoqui 3-0-1-0, Amen 2-1-0-0, Pollock 2-0-0-0, Martien 0-0-0-0. Totals 20-2-6-2. SB — Mau.

Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Knechtel 7-6-2-2-4-7.

Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Pollock 7-6-1-1-3-15.